Day 3 – Monday
It was raining when we woke up, so we had another lazy morning watching the Olympics highlights (which were full of archery and judo – go Korea). We finally ventured out for lunch and, after a couple misses, found a little restaurant that I hoped served galbi, but that wasn’t on the menu at all, so we had samgyeopsal instead. Samgyeopsal is like very thick bacon, but it doesn’t cook down to the crispy kind of bacon that I like. It’s a very popular dish with almost everyone, but it’s really chewy and fatty and I don’t really like it. My parents liked it even less. Also, many of the Korean meals that we’d had involved wrapping up everything in a lettuce leaf. Add to that the fact that we ran out of normal lettuce at this restaurant and were left with actual leaves (edible, but interesting) to go with our meal and this culinary adventure was quickly dubbed “Fat on a Leaf” by my parents. The only good thing was that they gave us aprons to protect our clothes from the scalding fat that popped off the grill. We definitely got a picture in them!
After the Fat on a Leaf lunch, we headed to Cheonggyecheon Stream for a walk. It was beautiful and simple and we even stopped under a bridge to dangle our feet in the water for a bit. I waded out in the water to get a picture of Mom and Dad on the bank and got yelled at by an old aujjushi on a bike. What else is new?
We moseyed along for a bit and then decided to head back to Hongae to find a coffee shop. We walked right through a district full of industrial distribution stores, which was interesting because that’s what my dad sells for a living! He liked looking at the belts and gears out in front of all the shops, and we definitely got a picture or two.
Back in Hongdae, we had some coffee and gelato at Café Bene, one of my favorite coffee shops (I’ll be honest, it’s cause they serve gelato!!). We were killing time before heading to see a show. We went to see Cookin’ Nanta, which is a lot like Stomp! but with a Korean cooking theme. It was really, really cool! It was comedic and musical and actually had a light plot. Made me want to go see more shows while I’m here.
After the show, we poked around Hongdae, shopping, laughing at just how many "Ho Bar"s there are (there are around 10 Ho Bars in Hongdae, alone), then we started to look for a place to have dinner. Mom and Dad were ready for a break from Korean food after the Fat on a Leaf, so we were on the lookout for something different when we passed Kraze (read: Crazy) Burger. I’d heard that their burgers were incredible, and they were indeed. They are touted as “healthy” burgers, but that’s a joke. Oh, Korea. They don’t have to live up to the labels on anything here! We were all glad to have a change of pace.
We also planned to go to N. Seoul Tower on a city bus tour that night, but we missed the bus departure. Just as well. We decided to try to see the tower when we came back to Seoul at the end of the week. After a few busy days in Seoul, it was nice to have a relaxed evening, so we just caught the subway back to the guesthouse. We bought some beers on the way home and settled in for some more Olympics.
The main event on in Korea that night was “Table Tennis,” or as it’s better known as, Ping Pong. Olympic Ping Pong. So, we’re sitting in the room and Mom and I are trying to go to sleep. The match was getting intense. Now, call us snobs, but for us, ping pong is more of a garage sport. My dad was getting a kick out of the intensity of the match, with the competitors wiping down their paddles and pausing for water breaks. He about lost it when one of them headed to the sideline to confer with his coach! He starts cracking up and announced a plan for mom and him to get an expenses-paid trip to the next Olympics! “Cherry! We can be ping pong coaches! [intermittent laughter] We’ll get a free trip and if we get out in the first round, we’ll just get to sit around and watch the other events! [more laughter] Ping pong coaches!”
|Dad going "what on earth are we eating?"|
|The guy on the bike who yelled at me is in this picture ;)|
|Just checking for fish|
|Not kidding about the name, see? Ho Bar 5 is right next to Ho Bar 7. You can't make this stuff up!|
|Happy after the healthy burger|
|Admiral Yi at night|
|The view from the guesthouse on our last night there|
And so ends Day 3. I’ll get around to the next leg of the journey after my weekend. I’m headed to Busan with some friends to sit on the beach and whatever else comes up! Oh this life :)